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Personalized printing: Variable data printing better targets your prospects

Personalize your printing. For quite a while now, variable printing has been a hot topic. How can it help your bottom line? I’ve provided some examples to get you thinking about how you can use it in your marketing efforts.

First, a definition. The more personalized a direct mail piece, the more targeted it is to the intended reader, the more likely it is to elicit a positive response. And it works. Large corporations have used variable printing for years—consider all the credit card offers or banking statements you’ve gotten over the years. Personalized letters, account statements and targeted marketing materials are just a few of the uses for variable printing, and for only pennies more per mailing.

But how is it effective? By creating mailings that speak directly to your customer, you have a more efficient use of resources: You won’t have leftover marketing materials, so you can update in a pinch. You can also use personalized URLs to direct everyone to your web site. It’s an easy way to track the strength of your mailing, and also shows a web saviness your competitors likely aren’t yet embracing.

Some examples:*

  • The Boston Symphony Orchestra needed to reactivate past and lapsed patrons and acquire new ones with personalized mailings that directed patrons to their web site. The results?
    2001: 10% response, 3% conversion
    2002: 18% response, online ticket sales increased 20% during the campaign, and they added 5,000 email addresses to their database.
  • A personalized invitation was sent to newly married couples with special offers on the china pattern they registered for at Mikasa. The data for these mailings came from bridal registries.
    First test run: Response rate of 8.2% with average order size in excess of $200. [Note: these responses are purchases, not just leads.] Second test run: 15% response rate.
    Average revenue generated per mailer: $20-30.
  • Clarica, a brand of the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, developed an effective mailer which uses relevance to clearly demonstrate a need to its clients: They printed a simulated check showing each client the specific amount of tax liability they would face if no action was taken.The “Good News” mailer targeted customers who had over $100,000 in total registered assets with Clarica. These clients risked having up to 50% of their estate taxed by the government. To drive home this point the mailer detailed the client’s current wealth accumulation with Clarica and then took half of those assets and placed it on a realistic looking check made payable to the Canadian government. The client was urged to call and make an appointment for a consultation to avoid that check being signed.In one campaign almost 10% of recipients called and almost 9 out of 10 callers made an appointment. 11.5% of the appointments resulted in sales. Clarica reports that “the average mailer brought in thousands of dollars in insurance premiums.”

Though these examples may not work specifically for your business, think of the databases you have at your disposal, or those you’d like to get [your targeted customers]. These are the people you can speak to most effectively, since you understand what they need most. Keep in mind that I can purchase snail mail lists with credit scores attached to them, as well as the typical snail mail and email lists.

So, the same question always is, what about the price? Suppose we were to work together to assemble a great, personalized piece. It may end up being full-color [a great option for small print runs] and cost more than what you’re currently sending out. However, your customers will appreciate a tailored message that speaks to their needs. And as I’ve shown you above, this results in increased response and sales, which will more than pay for that mailing, as well as future, more ambitious ones.

If you’d like to hear more about these services, just give Gizmo a call.

Lisa GhisolfPersonalized printing: Variable data printing better targets your prospects
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